Virginia Governor signs executive order protecting LGBT people

The Governor of Virginia has signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBT+ people in public services.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed executive order 61, which protects the rights of LGBT people in public services.

The Order extends pre-existing protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees to contractors and in the delivery of state services.

The move was celebrated by the Human Rights Campaign.

“While anti-equality politicians are introducing legislation targeting LGBTQ people, Governor McAuliffe is standing up against discrimination and sending a clear message that Virginia is open for business and welcoming to all,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.

“This executive order will help to ensure contractors doing business with the state are not using taxpayer funds to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Governor McAuliffe is a champion for equality and continues to lead the way forward in the fight to ensure all Virginians are treated equally with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”

Earlier this week Governor McAuliffe also vowed to veto a proposed anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’ in his state.

The proposed Virginia law, HB 1612, was proposed by GOP lawmaker Bob Marshall.

bathroom cred flickr

The law ostensibly functions to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms in state-owned facilities, but the actual contents of the law are far more chilling.

One provision would force schools to notify the parents of any child who asks to be called by a different name or gender – even if the child is in the closet, or fears a violent reaction at home.

But Marshall’s bill may have trouble becoming law, if Governor Terry McAuliffe sticks to his word.

Responding to the proposed bill, McAuliffe’s Communications Director Brian Coy said he would veto any effort to make it law.

“Governor McAuliffe has been clear that he will veto any bill that restricts the rights of Virginians based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Coy.

Going on, Coy noted North Carolina’s HB2, which cost the state numerous high profile sporting and music events, and prompted big businesses to boycott the state.

“As we saw in North Carolina, these bills don’t just hamper civil rights – they kill jobs. The Governor is hopeful that Republicans in the General Assembly will drop these counterproductive bills and turn their focus toward building a stronger and more equal Virginia economy.”

Texas might also be getting its own ‘bathroom bill’, as State Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said moves to introduce such a bill will be a priority in the new legislative session.

A press conference was held last month by the Association of Business, which announced the results of a study which estimated that 100,000 jobs and $8 billion in the state’s economy could be lost if Texas passes its own bathroom bill.

If taken literally, Virginia’s proposed law would require female strip clubs to cater only for women.

Equality Virginia said: “Together, we defeated a similar bill last year and together we will defeat this one. After what we have witnessed in North Carolina, all members of the General Assembly should immediately voice their opposition to this bill.”